The morning after President Barack Obama interrupted "The Simpsons" to inform the country about the death of Osama bin Laden, my husband and I drove down to Disneyland.
Now this was not a spur-of-the-moment, Munchkin-style "the wicked old witch at last is dead" kind of celebration. That would just be wrong. Instead, we'd had this excursion planned for a couple of months, and not just for the sake of mere frivolity either. A big focus was downright serious research for our Halloween 2011 extravaganza. Yes, to you, it is only Mother's Day. To us it's already Mother's Day, and we're behind on schematics for the front lawn display, not to mention building a pine box for the pop-up ghoul cowboy and manufacturing a phantom-operated Gatling gun.
This year's display theme is Ghost Town of the Old and Very Haunted West, and we wanted to mine the often ignored (except for the Big Thunder roller coaster and the Boot Hill shootin' exposition) attractions in Frontierland for ideas. And OK, so we had some fun along the way too. It was ultimately one part research and two parts frivolity, assuming there are three parts to a Disney visit, the best part being going there in the first place and the worst part leaving to return to reality. So I guess that's four parts. Or maybe five. Math is hard.
Happily ever after?
Anyway, last Sunday we watched our president on every major network conveying the somber news, followed by pundits reminding us of all the horrors of 9/11 and speculating on reprisals and the general fragility of life, and pre-empting all of what promised to be a classic "Simpsons" episode (Fat Tony and Selma getting married and vacationing on the Jersey Shore).
And after all this, I thought it might be weird going to Disneyland -- not only because such a mental suitcase packed with the harsh light of day might darken the usually radiant experience, but also because I expected to hear people talking about these latest world developments while standing in line for the Matterhorn, perhaps on edge, maybe fretting about a retaliatory attack in the park and expecting Tinker Bell to be on an elevated security alert. But no. Nada. The Happiest Place on Earth is, well, still happy.
In addition, I purposely didn't bring along our laptop so as to be email-free, and as I don't have a smart phone with news apps and I don't follow anybody on Twitter, all current event updates had to be obtained the way nature intended -- by picking up the USA Today delivered daily to our hotel room door. Even so, I merely skimmed the headlines. They didn't affect me. I was above it all, like Wendy viewing all the shenanigans on Skull Rock from the heady heights of Peter Pan-induced flight.
That feeling held throughout the day for everyone, it seemed. In fact, if there were in-line conversations of concern, they went something like this: "OK, do you think after Indiana Jones we should hoof it over to Space Mountain and get a FastPass, hitting the Dole Pineapple Whip stand along the way, then circling back through Fantasyland to check the line at Mr. Toad? Or would it be a better time to take the raft across the Rivers of America over to the Pirate's Lair, casually wobble along the suspension bridge and hide in Dead Man's Grotto and scare small children with evil bwahahaha-style laughter because the echoes in there are awesome?"
Mickey Mouse security
Besides, if there were ever any kind of threat at Disneyland, I'm quite sure security teams -- likely led by Buzz Lightyear, Tarzan, Grumpy and the entire Incredibles family -- would spring out of the ground and sprinkle fairy dust on the alleged perpetrators, thereby rendering them as docile as Bambi in a meadow of spring flowers. Seriously, the place is probably more secure than the White House. Nay, than the bunker under the White House. Nay, than the bunker under Ashton Kutcher's house. And it's all accomplished in the sweetest, spoonful-of-sugar kind of way. And not fake sugar, but the real sincere stuff that Mickey-shaped waffles are made of.
Truly, the whole world should run like Disney. Say what you will about the commercialism. I'm happy to pay my entry-fee taxes as a citizen of this fine Land and perhaps purchase a Piglet snow globe or two in order to dwell in the friendliest, best-maintained (I dare you to find any chipped paint on Dumbo), cleanest (if someone drops a used FastPass ticket, a crew member emerges from nowhere and picks it up faster than you can say a "crew member emerges from nowhere"), most-organized (it's a thing of zigzagging beauty), best-healthcare-providing (I got a free Minnie Mouse bandage in the first-aid station for the blister on my toe) kingdom in the world, with liberty and equality for all the zillions of people who come through, day after day, unless you're under 46 inches tall and then you can't go on Indiana Jones.
You see, sometimes it's OK to bury your head in the sand, as long as it's on the banks of Pirate's Lair. Osama bin who?